I used to think that the iPad was the king of the tablets, but not any more. It's time to whip the crown away from Apple and give it to its rightful holder – Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX.
There's no doubt that the iPad is the most influential tablet currently available, and it is the one that kicked off the tablet revolution that is now sweeping the consumer tech industry. But what Apple bought to market, Amazon has improved upon dramatically.
Note: Both the Kindle Fire HDX and the iPad come in two different flavors – the Kindle Fire HDX comes in 7-inch and 8.9-inch variants while the iPad is offered as the 9.7-inch iPad Air and the 7.9 inch iPad mini. Both devices are also offered in a range of capacities.
So what is it that makes the Kindle Fire HDX a better tablet? Let's find out.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX starts at an incredibly low $229, while an retina-display iPad mini with the same storage is $399. Want to boost the capacity from 16GB to 64GB and the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is only $309, while the iPad mini is up to an astronomical $599.
The pattern in repeated for the larger tablet. A 16GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX costs $379, while bumping the capacity to 64GB takes that to $479. Compare this to the iPad Air, where the 16GB model starts at $499 and climbs to $699 for 64GB of storage.
No matter how you cut it, the Kindle Fire HDX is the better deal.
USB file transfer
Being able to connect the Kindle Fire HDX to a PC or Mac and drag files to it is a massively useful feature for people who want to use the device for work. Sure, I've come up with elaborate workarounds using email or cloud services to get files onto the iPad, but nothing beats the speed, convenience and security of direct transfer.
Side-by-side, the display on the Kindle Fire HDX blows away that of the iPad. Not only do the colors look superior and more vivid, but also the brightness is better and the way blacks are handled – especially in video – is much more even.
On top of that, the display on the Kindle Fire HDX seems to throws off a lot less glare, making it easier to use outdoors.
The iPads offer about 10 hours of battery life in a mixed usage scenario, while the 7-inch Kindle Fire can go for 11 hours, and its bigger brother can go for a whopping 12 hours.
Another win for the Kindle Fire HDX.
Everything about the Kindle Fire HDX feels fast, from navigating the interface to launching and using apps, thanks to the speedy quad-core 2.2Ghz processor.
The other day I was playing a game while listening to an audiobook while simultaneously apps were being downloaded and installed in the background, and everything carried on feeling fast and fluid.
Excellent Wi-Fi range
Another big win for the Kindle Fire HDX is Wi-Fi range. The MIMO dual antenna setup gives me far better signal performance, especially when at the periphery of my Wi-Fi network (where the iPad starts to have problems).
On top of that, the Kindle Fire HDX seems far cleverer than the iPad when it comes to choosing which Wi-Fi station to connect to. The Kindle Fire HDX seems to pick the best choice, while the iPad wants to stubbornly stick to a base station until the signal gives out completely.
Superior on-screen keyboard
Everything about the Kindle Fire HDX's on-screen keyboard is better than the one found on the iPad. It's faster to appear, better laid out, more responsive, and has a better color scheme. Additionally, the ability to move from character to character without lifting a finger makes typing long messages far more comfortable.
The Dolby Digital Plus setup on the Kindle Fire HDX make the speakers on the iPad sound like old tin cans. If you care about how things sound, the Kindle Fire HDX is the device for you.
The 'Origami' case is perfect
I have to admit that at first I was skeptical of Amazon's 'Origami' case for the Kindle Fire HDX. After all, things that fold can be flimsy and confusing, and in the photos it looked more like a gimmick than a good solution for a case.
However, having used the case now for a few weeks, I'm now a total convert. At the core of the case are a handful of magnets. These magnets are used to hold the tablet inside the case, to hold the cover shut (and put the tablet to sleep), and to hold the 'origamied' kickstand in place, allowing the Kindle Fire HDX to be used in either landscape or portrait orientation.
The case makes all the buttons on the tablet available (and easy to find in the dark), and also it doesn't muffle the speakers (if anything, it feels like it amps them a bit).
Better email and calendar apps
I've lived and worked with Apple's iOS since it was called PhoneOS, and over those seven years I've seen Apple do great things with the platform. But while some aspects of the operating system have come on in leaps and bounds, I've felt that when it comes to the email and calendar apps, Apple 's creativity well has run dry. There's been a lot of tinkering with these apps over the years, but progress always feels like it's one step forward, one step back.
Amazon on the other hand has created email and calendar apps that are both useful and intuitive. Not only are these apps a breeze to set up, they give you all the tools you need to keep a tight reign over your email and schedule.
The Mayday button
While owning an Apple product gives you access to the Genius Bar when you want help, Amazon puts that support in the palm of your hand in the form of the Mayday button. Got a problem or question or query, and all you have to d is press a button and help from a real live person is only seconds away.
This is an awesome feature, and it means that users can make the most from their investment by getting the help they need, quickly, easily, and when they need it.